quietly approaching

there is something
and yet … and yet

a look
in the eye

something
or something
I made up

how
do you know

ten thousand
subtle seconds

and you only have
a moment to act

am I
the only one
who notices this

(D. James)

the last poet

When the night
is over

and the final
cigarette
has been smoked

what will
the last poet
say

After all
the evoked emotion
failed relationships
dead boyfriends
abortions
abusive parents
drugs and alcohol

laughter
and pain

have been spilled
out
in some cases
artfully vomited

what could
this last poet
have to say

How to summarize
this night
these words
life sentences
bad grammar

poetic license
driven to excess

How to follow
the girl who told
of losing all her hair

the guy who
crashed his car

the gay biker
who longs
to be dominated
by a she-wolf
of the SS

the boy
who lost
his virginity
so late

the girl
who lost hers
so early

the words
of so many
who want change
yet stay
right where they are

What can this last
motherfucker
have to say
that can top the
triumphs
tragedies
surprises
sorrows

What will
the last poet
leave us with

as we file
out of this
basement grotto
into the light
of dawn

Do we expect
too much
as he steps to the microphone

the crowd
too drunk
to hush

even the white
of the spot light
seems a bit dingy
as he steps into it’s shaft

The last poet
will speak the
last poem

and we will leave
to sleep it off

Whatever he says
will be the final word
so our expectations
are far too high

The last poet
poor fucker
has nowhere to go
but down

unless he’s more genius
than genius itself
more brilliant
than all of us

The last poet
clears his throat
touches his lips
to the mic

the wait
has us spellbound
and half-hopeful

Even so
when we wake
in the afternoon
hungover and
full of piss

will we remember
any of this

(D. James)

stubborn lazy do-nothing fucker

like a dog
that won’t come

a bird
that refuses
to sing

or a cat
that won’t hunt

what if
I just sat here
all damn day

listening to Nina

the sound
of all that pain
washing over me
like rain

(D. James)

life bends

autumn …
things begin
to die

the start
before the start
of next spring

the end
of this
the beginning
of that

life
is
a
circle

a cycle,
there are
no straight lines

which may be why
it feels as if
we’ve been here before

(D. James)

it all amounts to nothing in the end

when we were young
we talked, naively
about being older
because that’s
all we wanted

when we were older
we talked, longingly
about being young
because that’s
all we wanted

when we’re
dead
will we talk, knowingly
about being alive?

or will we finally
be content
with where we are?

(D. James)

can you have more answers than questions?

There is the road
and then there is
the trip we take
on it

There is the sky
and the bird
that flies

There is the water
and the whale

There is fire
and smoke

Those who live
and them
that die

Questions
and even
some answers

(D. James)

mind fuck

having thoughts
about thoughts
that I thought up
last night

thoughts I’ve thought
a long time

new thoughts think
the old ones should
make room

but the old thoughts
think they know best

then there’s the thought
that all this thinking
isn’t getting us anywhere

I don’t even know
what to think
about that

(D. James)

omission missive

I don’t say
what’s on
my mind

When
it’s all
shit

So keep
my mouth
shut

Because
always
everyone
wants to help

And sometimes
I just need to be
where I’m at

Got it?

(D, James)

unbeknownst

how many things
don’t I know?

of all the things
in the wide world
which I know

a fraction of a fraction
of a percent

how many things
do you know?

all thoughts
all languages
from the beginning

how we think
we know
anything at all
is beyond me

(D. James)

where’d it go

Bourbon and cigarettes
late-night hookers
down dark alleys

What doesn’t kill me
costs more than
just money

Turning fantasy into reality
shaking with adrenaline
getting kicks from anticipation
feeling more powerful
than any man should

Someday
I’ll get off
this merry-go-round
but I can’t seem to find
“someday” on the calendar

Maybe it falls on
February 30th
two-thousand-and-never

(D. James)

the four corners of love and belonging

See the tall girl
standing on the corner
a cell phone to her ear

Oblivious to the traffic
rushing by
a boy
talking in her ear

He tells her
“I love you”
but she doesn’t
believe it

She turns west
and hears him say
he can’t live without her

She turns east
and he says
please don’t leave

When she looks down
at the ground
is that south?

Up at the sky
north?

He keeps talking
pleading
wheedling
whining
but she stopped listening
long ago

Behind dark sunglasses
she quints at the bright sunlight
of a Los Angeles afternoon

It’s after she throws the phone
as it skips along the hot tar
and is run over a few times

she realizes
her mistake all along
has been looking for love
from without instead of
from within

(D. James)

Do we expect too much from our heroes or have they just let us down

The writer
that doesn’t write

The poet
that doesn’t poe

The savior
that doesn’t save

On a road
that goes nowhere
leads to nothing
and ends when it’s over

[queue music]

(D. James)

so I’ve been told

If I did
as I was told

twist and shout
rattle and hum

would it be annoying
or would you come
along

If I did
as I was told

there’d be
no poetry
at least not
from me

If I did
as I was told

I might remember
to care

that everyone
has an opinion
and some are quick
to share

If I did
as I was told

If only I ever
did as I was told

(D. James)

myths

traded as fact
they lurk
in broad daylight

often dispelled
by opposing
falsehoods

nothing more
than something
someone was once
ridiculed for believing

then repeated
repeated
repeated
so much
no one asks
where it came from

we just live
like it’s the truth

(D. James)

self-referential riddle #1

If I told you
I wrote this
for the sake
of writing it

Made it up
just now as
the words for
their meaning
and nothing
more

Would it hold
weight …
respond to gravity?

Or do we have
to assign some other
definition to make it
a poem,
something greater
than what it is?

(D. James)